Certain events you mark down on the calendar so you'll be sure to go there next year. Le Jardin Extraordinaire is now on the list. Back in September, on a stinking hot Sunday, we drove to the village of Lieurac about 12 km away not really knowing what we'd find.
So come with me and I'll tell you what was there.
Following hand-painted signs, we took a side road and, even though it was only 10:30 in the morning, the car park--a meadow shaved down to pale prickly stuble--already had a good few vehicles lined up in rows We joined them and, knowing it was going to be a sizzler of a day, covered the windscreen with the sun-shield. A dusty track led towards a house but, long before we got there, we were drawn into a tunnel of green. Built of branches, the tunnels linked two domes and everything was covered in greenery. You didn't have to stoop to get through but you did have to move to avoid the enormous gourds that hung from the greenery. Long ones, round ones, dappled ones... Elsewhere blue-violet-flowered climbers twined around their supports.
|It was quite magical walking along this dappled pathway completely|
surrounded by vines.
|I don't know what these are but aren't they spectacular?|
Between all this lush greenery, we could see a meadow outside so crammed with flowers, it looked like a Monet painting. Exiting the tunnel we found people giving back massages, kids dancing naked under a solar-powered shower, sculptures, paintings, and a pathway that led down beside a river that chuckled and sparkled in the sun. All in all, a glorious, sensual day.
|Down by the river, these strange "creatures" hung from the trees. Gourds had been |
hollowed out, planted with grass and then hung upside down.
|River stones meticulously stacked.|
|Circles of stones in the river filled with green plants.|
|The river flowed around installations like these--dozens of bright sunflower heads |
framed in stones.
|Kids could put on plays in a miniature theatre.|
|Some brands of yogurt come in these little glass pots which everyone saves and uses as |
tea-light holders. Hundreds and hundreds had been attached to wires along the
pathways that led between the flower meadows and down beside the river.
|The event is as much about art as it is about gardens.|
|For lunch you could have baguettes with ham and cheese, or salad, or Indian food |
and--on this high thirties day, cold beers.